Southern California breaking news and trends

I don't feel tardy: The ultimate 'Back to School' survival guide

back to school pencils supplies

Photo by c.a.muller via Flickr Creative Commons

retro lunch boxes

Photo by sv johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

paint back to school

Photo by Lars Hammar via Flickr Creative Commons


Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Parents search for last-minute school supplies before their students head back to class.

Sometimes things arrive early and it's cause for celebration. Sometimes things arrive early and it's too soon to wear wool pants. August 14, 2012 is the first day of school for students of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and we figured you might like a little help jumpstarting the season.

From fashions to supplies, from study tips to tech solutions, from what to pack for lunch to where to pin the bus number on the sleeve, KPCC has you covered with expert guides from specialized corners of the internet playground.

Please share in the comments below your best "Back to School" pro tips, guidelines, suggestions, and links!


1. New and bestselling backpacks (Amazon)

2. 30 days of back to school outfits (Seventeen)

3. 21 Back-to-School Lunches Kids Will Love (RealSimple)


Mayor: Fights with LAUSD were 'battle royales'


Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called his fights to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District "battle royales."

The fights to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which stretched from state legislation to a lawsuit and ultimately to the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, were “battle royales,” according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor talked about his efforts to reform the public school system during an evening event at Loyola Marymount University Wednesday. 

“These were battle royales, again, without the power to really effectuate,” the mayor said of his efforts to impact LAUSD. 

In his first term as mayor, Villaraigosa pushed for a state bill that would give him control of LAUSD. The courts later struck down that law, and the mayor created the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.  The Partnership now oversees 22 schools throughout Los Angeles. 

“I’m not in any way satisfied with where we’re at,” Villaraigosa said, after noting that the Academic Performance Index scores at those schools are improving. “We won’t be satisfied until the vast majority -- if not everyone -- of our kids graduate. We won’t be satisfied until L.A. public schools are among the best anywhere in the nation.”


Parents throw punches at LA preschool graduation

Screenshot via Google Maps

Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School, 1260 West 36th Place, Los Angeles, CA, an education reform website, posted an upsetting video Thursday night of children screaming and crying as parents were seen fighting at a recent preschool graduation in Los Angeles.

The melee at Weemes Elementary School prompted a repsonse from school principal Lynn D. Brown who sent a letter home to parents about the June 7 incident.

The fight broke out during a preschool culmination ceremony, said Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Monica Carazo. One woman suffered a cut to her lip, but there have been no arrests or charges.

School police are investigating, and no official statement has been issued about what started the brawl. Calls to confirm reports, published with the video, that the dispute stemmed from students having to share a cap and gown for photos, were not immediately returned.


Death by defunding: Academic Decathlon competes for its life against the LAUSD deficit


Photo by Dave Shea via Flickr Creative Commons

In a battle against the $557 million budget deficit, LAUSD is preparing to vote on a bloodbath of possible program cuts this week. 

Facing death by defunding are art classes in elementary schools, tutoring assistance, recreation programs, adult and early education, All-District Honor Marching Band, and the award-winning Academic Decathlon program.

LAUSD, the second-largest school district in the U.S., allotted $400,000 in the current fiscal year to pay for Academic Decathlon regional competitions and coach stipends. 

El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, one of the district's top competitors, will be showing its smarts in Sacramento this weekend for the state Academic Decathlon championship. No fewer than 13 schools within the district are qualified for the state competition, reports the Daily Breeze


North Hills kindergarten teacher removed after 'inappropriate behavior' allegations

lassen elementary

Screenshot via Google Maps

Lassen Elementary School in North Hills is the latest local institution to remove a teacher for "inappropriate behavior," NBC LA is reporting.

Parents were notified in a letter dated March 1 that a kindergarten teacher was "removed from the school" after allegations of inappropriate contact with a student, LAUSD officials confirmed Tuesday morning.

"This letter is to inform you that an allegation has been made of inappropriate behavior involving a staff member," Principal Dana Carter said in the letter. "Upon receiving the information, the proper authorities were notified. As part of the investigation, the employee has been temporarily removed from the school."

LAUSD officials said the male teacher was moved to a non-teaching facility during the investigation. It was not immediately known how long the man had been teaching within the district.